bike touring harpers ferry
Crossing the rivers at Harpers Ferry

The Pedalshift Project 035: A fall C&O bicycle tour + trying out Amtrak’s roll-aboard service

A recap of a gorgeous fall C&O bicycle tour, a review of Amtrak’s new roll-aboard service on the Capitol Limited line, plus gear minimizing and cold weather camping thoughts.

psp35Hey it’s the direct download link for episode 035 (mp3)

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The Journal


  • Halloween Spooktacular Ride
  • Amtrak Roll-aboard service on the Capitol Limited
Amtrak Capitol Limited bike
Loading a bike on Amrak’s Capitol Limited (photo by Amtrak)

The Amtrak press release gives some good info:

Good News for Capitol Limited Customers: Bike Service Begins Aboard Trains 29 and 30


Effective September 15, 2015 Amtrak is pleased to announce that starting September 15, passengers can bring bikes on the Capitol Limited for only $20. Before bringing your bike aboard, please note the following:

  • Arrive Early If you are checking a bike, get to the station at least 30 minutes prior to train departure to allow time to get your tickets and take your bike to the baggage car.
  • Bike Reservations Bicycle reservations are required. Reserve your bike on by selecting “add bike to trip” when booking your train travel. You can also call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) or make reservations at any Amtrak ticket office. Bike reservations cannot be made through Amtrak’s mobile apps. Don’t forget to bring the ticket (travel document) for your bike to present to the conductor.
  • One bike is permitted per person, and only standard size bikes are allowed. If your bike has a large seat/saddle bags, you will need to remove it from the bike before loading it on the train. The seat can either be carried on the train or checked, where permitted.
    Loading and Storing Your Bike Once you arrive at the station, take your bike to the coach/baggage car where it will be stored during your trip. A crew member will open the baggage car door.
  • You must be able to lift your bike onto the train and stow it in the rack. You must also attach the stabilization bar with the strap provided to your bicycle frame. Amtrak employees are not responsible for storing or securing bicycles. Upon arriving at your destination, a crew member will guide you to the car to retrieve your bike once the train comes to a complete stop and it is safe to do so.

Enjoy your journey aboard the Capitol Limited, and thank you for choosing Amtrak.

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Gear Talk

  • Lighten your load and compress your packing
  • Cold camping thoughts


The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ latest release, Habitat, wherever cool music resides. And a little birdy tells me Jason’s recording some new music. More when I know…


  1. DGF says:

    You’re killing me. My wife and I through-biked the Canal in June.

    I spent the weekend of your latest C&O trip along the Chesapeake Bay, and I kept checking your Twitter posts, which made me homesick for the C&O Canal. Tonight I listened to your podcast, and once again you brought it all back to me. We stayed at Swains Lock, and a bunch of underage kids had a kegger next to our campsite. We lugged our bikes up the spiral staircase at Harpers Ferry, and I had the same experience that you did. My wife, however, had no shortage of strangers who were willing to help her carry her bike…

    We even got a new puppy in August, and she’s going through her own separation anxiety. It’s uncanny.

    Just for the record, we live in Pennsylvania, and the C&O is our favorite place to ride. The Great Allegheny Passage is our second favorite. I could listen to your podcasts about these trails all night.

    Well, that’s enough for now. Thanks for an excellent podcast,


  2. Scott says:

    Your first experience with roll-aboard bike service went better than mine.

    The Capitol Corridor had had roll-aboard bike service for a long time by the time I took my bike from San Jose to Davis, so I guess they thought that everyone on board knew the drill. I walked along the train until I saw bike racks through the open door. I boarded and promptly hung my front wheel on the hook and strapped the stabilizing bar to my frame. I should have known something wasn’t right when I had to fold up a couple of luggage racks to get to the bike racks, but I took the clearly visible “Bikes Only” placcard as a sign that I had found the right spot.

    I had not found the right spot. Apparently there was some other section the man in charge of baggage had already set aside for bikes on that particular train. He told me this himself rather sternly but allowed me to keep my bike where it was until deboarding in Davis.

    Now I know to look for the bike cars on the Capitol Corridor. And to ignore placards that read “Bikes Only.”

    • Tim Mooney says:

      Yeah the CA trains are all a little different. The Surfliner is “pass your bike up to me and I’ll take it from there, man!” while up your way it’s “No NOT THERE!” 😉 I understand the wave of the future is this new style so perhaps it’s going systemwide?

What do you think?